The 2017 CCLA Gala on April 27, was a sold-out affair with more than 300 guests from the Toronto legal community, as well as prominent figures from the political and business worlds.

The evening kicked off with perhaps the world’s best known whistleblower and our special guest honouree, Edward Snowden, who addressed the gathering live via video link from Russia. He reminded the audience that fighting for civil liberties and human rights is not just a good thing, or just the right thing, but a necessary thing and that it’s not enough to believe in something, you have to stand up for it. He noted the CCLA is a “voice of reason” in these troubling times. He ended his 15-minute speech saying: “We are here to lay bricks, not throw them.”

This year, the CCLA has brought together 20 inspiring honourees — men and women who have contributed, in diverse ways, to building a vibrant and inclusive society. Some of our honourees are storytellers, bringing tales of hardship and triumph to the Canadian public. Others are fighters, leading the charge for social change. We thank them for their tireless work and their passionate support of CCLA’s goals.

Special recognition went to the late Ursula Franklin, a research physicist, author, and educator who taught at the University of Toronto for more than 40 years.

The 2017 honourees are listed below. Each one of them was asked to provide a short personal reflection for the Act for Freedom program about “What accountability means to you.” Please click on their names to read what they had to say.

Justice Jasmine Akbarali Shelagh Day Roberto Martella
Linda Bertoldi Dennis Edney Kent Roach
Bill Bogart Craig Forcese Mary Spencer
Roberta Bondar Patricia Gagic Frances Waithe
Lisa Borsook Katherine Govier Margie Wolfe
Jim Bronskill Yavar Hameed  
Irwin Cotler Ben Makuch  

The work of the CCLA would not be possible without the dozens of pro bono lawyers across the country who work with us on to intervene in and argue cases at all levels of court. CCLA would like to thank all of the lawyers who have given their valuable time and expertise to work with us on important issues over the last couple of years. Please see a full list of them here.

CCLA thanks all of our generous gala supporters for helping to make the evening such a success.

2017 CCLA gala sponsors